Civilians are bearing the brunt of the conflict in northern Mali, as Islamists continue their reign of terror against those they claim do not obey their laws. A report released on Thursday by Amnesty International has called for the “protection of civilians in strict compliance with international humanitarian and human rights law”.
More and more civilians are being amputated or severely beaten for non-respect of strict Sharia laws by Islamists who have been at the helm of affairs since their invasion of Northern Mali in April, 2012.
In a report released on Thursday by Amnesty International (AI), the population is bearing the brunt of the conflict in northern Mali. Since the month of August alone, seven people accused of theft have been amputated as a result of hasty judgements.
On August 8, a Tuareg cattle farmer, Ag Alhader Almahmoud was accused of stealing cattle and had his right hand chopped off. “Questioning did not exceed ten minutes […] The majority stated that I was guilty and needed to face Sharia… that my right hand should be cut from the wrist. […] Before the amputation, the owner of the stolen cattle came and declared that his animals had been found.”
Women are also regularly raped by armed groups working with the Islamists. According to the report, a fourteen year-old girl in Tumbuktu was raped by an official of a police force set up by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). The man who committed the crime, a Burkinabe national, received 11 lashes, excluded from the police force and ordered to marry the girl. According AI, however, the man has neither been sacked from the police force nor married his victim.
Recruitment of child soldiers by Islamist military is also rampant, with the majority of recruits being between twenty and ten years of age. “They told me that school is not good. I was taken to the camps and they showed me how to load a weapon…” a young Malian told UNICEF last July.
Meanwhile, AI has warned that “it is essential that the parties ensure the protection of civilians in strict compliance with international humanitarian and human rights law”.